I watched a movie on Netflix recently called “Don’t Look Up.” The basic story is that Kate Dibiasky, a Ph.D. astronomy student, discovers a previously unknown comet headed straight for earth.
Nothing really new about that – think “Armaggedon” and “Deep Impact” both released in 1998. Just like in those films, this comet is pretty big. Big enough, in fact, to be a “planet killer.”
It also turns out that many world and business leaders don’t care.
As the story evolves, the various characters shamelessly use the comet’s existence to supress the truth, improve their ratings, jockey for political or monetary advantage, and in general spin the news to make themselves look good.
Appearance over substance. Form over function. Perception over purity.
Spinpact is the polar opposite of impact. And impact – as leaders – is what we should be all about. All day, every day.
The technology explosion in the last few decades has given us the ability to communicate more widely and more effectively than ever before. That, indeed, is a gift. Conversely, it has also given rise to the creation of a culture where Spinpact often – and unfortunately – is perceived as more important than real impact.
After all, it’s how we’re trending that’s important, and not what we actually accomplish.
The english word “sincere” derives from two latin roots – Sine and Cera. “Sine” means “without” – and “Cera” means “wax.”
In the old days, I guess when pottery was a big thing, some sculptors would cover imperfections in their work by filling them with melted wax and smoothing them over. Some would even take another’s work, fill in the cracks with wax, and then present them as original. Think fake Rolexes and you get the idea.
This gave rise to the presentation of original works with what essentially was a guarantee – SineCera – “without wax.”
Pure. Unadulterated. Genuine.
As leaders, our communication needs to be the same.
But, given the pervasive influence of spinpact, if we aren’t careful we can start to slip.
Our motivation is not in question. Great leaders always want to present a realistic, sincere and compelling message. That, in fact, is a large part of our job.
Rather, this slippery slope often begins with distraction and a subtle attitude change. Like a moth to a flame, we can gradually get drawn in by the messaging around us and sub-consciously begin altering our own communications.
I am personally susceptible to this. For me, too much exposure to the media world starts to negatively affect my attitude. This can then seep into in my writing, communications, and interactions with the teams that I work with and coach. I need to limit my exposure and stay close to my inner circle to keep me focused.
How about for you?
Consider a few questions this week:
- Are you restricting your communications to the core themes of your vision, mission and role or are you tempted to “dip your toe” into other areas that aren’t related?
- Would you benefit from trying a short-term “media diet” and reducing the time you spend engaged in the media world?
- Can you think of any changes that you need to make to tighten up or re-focus your message?
I know many of you on this list, and collectively we represent an staggering array of voices that offer hope, healing and the promise of a better future.
Now, more than ever, the world needs us to present those messages “without wax.”